Tag: pheasants

Guest Post | ‘Gamebirds’ – Evading protection in law

“How is it that artificially-reared ‘gamebirds’ such as pheasants, commercially produced under industrial conditions, in no meaningful sense ‘wild’, and claimed to be reared for food, manage to evade the potential protections of both the Animal Welfare Act and of welfare at slaughter – regulations that society expects should apply to any other animal that meets these criteria?…Were they to be fully subject to such protections then, of course, their shooting for ‘sport’ would not be possible. This bizarre legal sleight of hand removes protection for pheasants in particular from major welfare harms, caused directly by their artificial rearing, by falsely representing them as wild and outside human control or responsibility.” Guest post.

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Shooting | The ‘I was set up’ script

The RSPB Investigations Team have just posted a graphic blog looking at a wildlife crime that apparently – er, isn’t…The difficulties of obtaining prosecutions have been discussed many times before. Without anyone witnessing and recording an individual committing a crime, lawyers will typically fall back on the ‘not enough evidence’ defence. They don’t need to do much more than that. It may be bleeding obvious that an illegal trap used to catch raptors set on the fence of a pheasant shoot is going to have been placed by the gamekeeper (or an employee of the shooting estate) but that’s not enough – no matter how often it happens in exactly the same circumstances. Without video evidence – like the recording of the Goshawk killing on the Duchy of Lancaster’s estate in July – perpetrators of wildlife crime just keep getting away with it. What is particularly striking about this case, though, is that the gamekeeper involved didn’t just retreat into silence, he claimed that he was ‘set up’, saying that “the spring trap would not fit on the post next to where the dead kite was hanging”.

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Wild Justice | Historic environmental legal victory on licencing bird releases

What an achievement! Wild Justice has just announced via their blog that they have secured a remarkable legal victory. After challenging Defra (the government department responsible for the environment) in court over the potential threat to protected sites and species from the unregulated releases of around 60 MILLION pheasant and red-legged partridges by the shooting industry, Wild Justice have secured a long overdue review and a future licencing scheme. On top of that, pheasants and red-legged partridges (both beautiful but non-native birds, so only found here because of shooting releases), have been added to Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, which places them alongside Japanese Knotweed and other species “which cause ecological, environmental or socio-economic harm”…

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Guest Post | Gamebird Shooting in Sheffield & South Yorkshire

“The sight and sound of a pheasant is almost ubiquitous in the fields around Sheffield and South Yorkshire. Any day out in the countryside will eventually involve the familiar coarse squawk as they dash out from the scrub. But why are they here and why do people care? There is growing unease about the presence of pheasants – and their associates, red-legged partridges – in the UK countryside. The prevalence of these birds is the end result of a deeply damaging and divisive shooting industry. Each year, more and more opponents are speaking out about the animal welfare issues and environmental impacts of this industry.” Guest Post by Adam Davies

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Natural England and BASC produce shooting report

So, months after Wild Justice made a legal challenge over the failure of the government department ‘looking after’ the environment (DEFRA) to assess the impacts of the unregulated release of tens of millions of non-native ‘gamebirds’ on sites of conservation importance for the ‘sport’ of shooting, Natural England and the shooting lobby organisation BASC (known as The Wildfowlers’ Association of Great Britain and Ireland long before the word ‘conservation’ was hijacked by people with guns) have joined forces to commission a report written by Dr Joah Madden of Exeter University and Rufus Sage (Head of lowland gamebird research at GWCT). Unsurprisingly there will be no pause in the killing…

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Language Matters | ‘gamebird’, game bird, gamebird?

Language encodes and externalises our thoughts. The way we use it, writes Charlie Moores, expresses externally what we think about the person, animal or object we are describing. Sometimes we use language too casually, without questioning, and sometimes outside influences affect the words we use. Over many years, for example, we have been persuaded by agricultural and hunting/shooting interests. So should we use ‘gamebird’ at all?

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Common Decency Seven Years On

Some years ago, a website was published called ‘Common Decency’. The author wanted to show what life was like when a pheasant shoot you don’t want any part of starts up next door to your dream cottage. The noise, the disturbance, the hail of dying pheasants and lead shot falling into your new garden. As Charlie Moores writes, it all highlights the indfference of the shooting industry to the people it comes into contact with.

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